Inspire and encourage your children’s love of reading by visiting places where bookworms will be in their element.
Local libraries are a great place to start, as many offer far more than just book lending services. Some put on free activities for under-fives including rhyming and story time, so it’s worth checking out what’s going on this week.
There are alsoe many places across the UK bringing children’s stories to life in exhibitions or adventure trails, such as Pooh Sticks at Ashdown Forest and Roald Dahl’s story centre, both of which have featured before in our Family Days Out series.
Why not head out to:
Brownsea Island, Dorset
Why? It’s a beautiful National Trust site, as well as a book-inspired location.
Have your kids read Enid Blyton? If not, make sure they do pronto before heading on this day out. Enid Blyton was from London but she would frequently visit Dorset. Whispering Island from ‘The Famous Five’ series was based on Brownsea Island in Poole. You can visit the island that inspired the books by taking a ferry from Poole Harbour. The island is now owned by the National Trust and is a fab family day out. Prices cost £7.20 for adults and £3.60 for kids. Find out more here.
The Highway Rat, Across The UK
Why? You can combine a love of books with adventure on this outdoor trail.
‘The Highway Rat’ is a book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, which has been brought to life in England’s forest trails. Kids can follow panels and discover the area around them as they head on a journey with the Highway Rat and all the characters from the story. They can complete fun activities along the trail, too. You can purchase a Highway Rat activity pack for £3 where you’ll find activities, stickers, puzzles and a Highway Rat mask. Find your nearest trail by clicking the forest’s icon on the map, here.
The World Of Beatrix Potter, Cumbria
Why? If you kids love Beatrix Potter, they can see the stories brought to life.
There are loads of different areas to explore. Kids can make their way around the centre to see Jemima Puddle-Duck’s woodland glade, Peter Rabbit’s Garden, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle’s kitchen and Mr McGregor’s Greenhouse. There’s also a tea-room for a post-walk treat. It’s £7.95 for adults and £3.95 for kids, with under-threes going free. Find out more here.
Library Of Birmingham
Why? It’s one of the most impressive libraries in the UK.
The library itself is a major cultural destination, housing more than 400,000 books and boasting an impressive design by Dutch architects Mecanoo. Within it, the children’s library is the perfect place to share books with your kids. They have a special collection called “When a book might help”, which covers a diverse range of topics from helping young children to understand concepts such as the alphabet and shapes, to helping them cope with situations such as bereavement or visiting the dentist. They also run regular events and activities for under-fives, such as story time, rhyme time, music and craft activities, plus visits from children’s authors. Find out more here.
Neath Port Talbot Libraries, Wales
Why? They run “Technoclubs” encouraging kids to get excited about STEM.
Libraries in Neath Port Talbot offer loads for both young and older children. For babies, they have “Bookstart”, a free pack of books with guidance materials for parents and carers. For toddlers, they have the “Bookstart Book Crawl”, which is where children receive a collection card and then collect stickers on each visit to the library. When they have collected five stickers they are given a certificate and get a free book. And finally, for older kids, in “Technoclubs” library staff help participants build and program Lego robots. Find out more here.